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“Enjoyable couple of hours”
Review of La Coupole

La Coupole
Ranked #1 of 25 things to do in Saint-Omer
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: A secret base at the heart of Second World Wae history...A real underground town, constructed in 1943 and 1944 by the German army to go ahead with the launch V2 rockets on London, La Coupole is an exceptional site on which the destiny of Europe could have been played out...Today, it is an astonishing museum, a centre to gain an understanding of the historical and scientific stakes at play during the Second World War, from Occupation to the hidden face of space conquest. New! La Coupole now houses a revolutionary 3D planetarium. Sit insite the massive 360° room wearing your active 3D glasses and travel thtough the universe...
Reviewed September 4, 2012

This is a well thought out attraction, with lots of displays and information. The nice thing was the informative & enjoyable short films in the mini cinemas around the site. A good chance to take the weight off one's feet whilst learning a lot about the site, and life in France at the time. We were a family group where some were far more interested in the displays & technical information than others, yet we all enjoyed our visit here. The shop & cafe are worth a visit too.

Thank cwtchkin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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407 - 411 of 984 reviews

Reviewed August 29, 2012

The concrete dome and tunnels at La Coupole stood empty for 50 years after 1944. Now they are an outstanding museum - entered through the Ida tunnel blasted into the quarry wall and under the main dome itself - with two themes presented thoughtfully: the occupation of Northern France; and the development of Nazi V1 and V2 "revenge" rocket weapons, leading into the space age.

English commentary via headphones is provided throughout, evocative displays, interesting and informative archive films, and well chosen artefacts, including an original V1 and V2 (from the Science Museum, and Smithsonian). A different viewpoint at times, unashamedly French and genuinely moving. It doesn't pull any punches. A must-see.

Good value combined ticket includes the impressive new Planetarium (at least half commentary in French), while a woodland walk up and around the back of the site is a pleasant 40-minute stroll through a landscape still pitted with bomb craters. The café looked good value too.

Just off the A26 motorway from Calais to Paris, so easy to get to (approx. 40 mins from Calais) and worth visiting St Omer for. The V1 and V2 bunker, Le Blockhaus d'Eperlecques, is a short drive away, and also well worth a visit.

3  Thank Stephen F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 10, 2012

We had been intending to visit for a number of years, but never got round to it. This time we did - partly because it was a boiling hot day and we thought it would be cool (temperature not trendy). The entrance is large and airy, the reception staff helpful and, armed with our gheadphones, set to the right language, off we went. The scale of the thing is awe- inspiring. The first stage, the ground floor tunnels and galleries set the scene, with exhibits in many of them. Then up in the lift to the main gallery in the top of the coupole - very modern in contrast to the concrete structure. Two films in large cinema areas and then around the rest of the exhibits. The rocket part was fascinating and demonstrated how very different the outcome of the war would have been had it lasted just a few months more.

I found the section dealing with the prisoners and treatment of them very harrowing. I think that a warning for those purchasing family tickets might be in order, but I am not sure that it would have been possible to bypass this section. I don't think that it should be bypassed by adults as it is important that we understand what happened (and continues to happen around the world), but I think it unsuitable for young children.

Coming back down to ground level, a shop and cafe await - both good. They have recently opened a 3D planetarium, which we plan to visit next time (I hope it's a proper planetarium not like the dumbing down popularising type that the Baker St one seems to have become).

2  Thank Bev w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 5, 2012

Visited on a grey gloomy day during our recent holiday to Northern France. Well worth a visit. Museum has two themes. One being the development of rocket technology and how it was used by the Nazis and beyond, The second theme being the story of the war and in particular the despicable treatment of political and religious targets of Nazism. Makes you think. 24 Euros for a family ticket and we spent a good two hours there so good value. One gripe.......as I left I noticed the flags of France, Holland, Germany, Canada, the EU (!), but NOT the Union Flag. This needs addressing in my view, otherwise a good visit.

1  Thank Jon B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2012

You see the massive concrete dome of La Coupole as you enter the car park and the scale of it takes the breath away. You enter at ground level through several hundred feet of tunnels with exhibitions dotted along the length of them. When we went there was an exhibition about World War one and also several details about the making of the dome. It was cold in the tunnels and wet in places, but once you reach the lifts that take you up into the main exhibition at the top of the dome it gets warmer. The exibitions in the dome are very cleverly arranged and are made up of two main themes; the second world war in the north of France and the German rocket programme and how it ultimately influenced space travel. Because all visitors have audio headsets, the exhibition halls are relatively quiet and you are encouraged to visit in silence out of respect to the slave labourers who suffered and died whilst working in the rocket factories and at La Coupole. All the exhibitions and the films that preceded them were interesting but I found the story of the war from the northern french perspective particularly interesting. Once you have visited the exhibitions there is a small cafe and shop on the site, both worth a visit.

1  Thank TheCityBreakers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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